Study Guide

A Man for All Seasons Hypocrisy

By Robert Bolt

Hypocrisy

A Man for All Seasons features arrogant royals, manipulative politicians, and shady religious leaders. We're talking the Hypocrisy Olympics here, ladies and gents. Set in 16th-century England, the play follows the huge controversy surrounding King Henry VIII's desire to divorce his wife Queen Catherine—a move that would eventually result in the formation of the Church of England. Weird, huh? As you can imagine, this situation goes anything but smoothly, and the resulting hypocrisy displayed by England's aristocracy shows us how even the greatest people can be corrupted by their own power.

Questions About Hypocrisy

  1. How does Henry's boat tour display his hypocrisy?
  2. In what ways is Norfolk hypocritical regarding More?
  3. How does the play depict the corruption of the British political system?
  4. Is More hypocritical in some way? Explain.

Chew on This

Henry's boat tour displays his hypocrisy because it shows the distance between his self-image as a rugged individualist and the reality of him as an all-powerful regent.

Norfolk, as representative of the British aristocracy as a whole, reveals his hypocrisy by changing his beliefs simply because the King told him to.